Adaptive Recreation Center Plans Unveiled


Susan Askew
Susan Askew

Adaptive Recreation Center Plans Unveiled:

Commission to review concept and site location

We’re getting our first look at the concept plans for the proposed Sabrina Cohen Adaptive Recreation Center in Mid-Beach. Architect Kobi Karp has designed a facility with two stories of program and fitness space, a rooftop pool and an understory with storage space. Miami Beach Commissioners this week will be asked to approve the Concept Plan for a building located on the northeast corner of the City’s 53rd Street and Collins Avenue P-72 surface parking lot. 
Since 2016, the Sabrina Cohen Foundation has hosted Adaptive Beach Days at 6500 Collins Avenue. The program provides disabled adults and children the ability to access the beach and swim in the water with specialized equipment and trained volunteers. In two years, the program has served over 600 unique visitors, local residents as well as tourists, with physical and cognitive disabilities including seniors living with disabilities, veterans, and children with special needs. Volunteers ranging from high school students to trained professionals participate. The City staff report indicates each beach day averages approximately 100 visitors with 25-40 disabled participants.

The success of the Beach Days led to plans for the Adaptive Recreation Center which will provide a place for storage of the beach equipment, changing rooms, and other fitness activities for the disabled.
Last fall, Cohen’s foundation and the City signed a funding, collaboration and management agreement for the Foundation to develop and manage a facility “with the primary purpose of providing the general public and specifically, persons with physical and cognitive disabilities, including seniors living with disabilities, and able-bodied individuals with temporary injuries, with an accessible access point to the beach and related beach programming.” 
Cohen, a native of Miami Beach, sustained a serious spinal cord injury in a car accident in 1992 when she was 14. She started the Sabrina Cohen Foundation in 2006 and since then has become a leader in providing adaptive fitness and recreational quality of life initiatives for people living with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities.
Under the agreement, the Foundation is responsible for raising the money to cover all expenses related to the City’s design, development, and construction of an adaptive recreation center. No City funds will be used for the development of the facility though the City would be its owner with the Sabrina Cohen Foundation acting as manager.
The design concept is the first milestone built into the contract: “Within six months following the execution of the Agreement, the Foundation shall submit a draft Concept Plan, including a proposed operating plan with sufficient detail to enable the city to accurately estimate the construction costs, the costs of FF&E, and the operation and maintenance costs of the Facility.” The plan along with a proposed location within the parking lot must be approved by the City Commission which is what is under consideration at a special Monday Commission meeting. FF&E refers to furniture, fixtures and equipment.
This is just the first step. The City will not proceed with the final design and construction of the facility “until the Foundation has raised sufficient funds for the design and construction, and has transferred such funds to the City.” The Foundation needs the Concept Plan approval to begin the fundraising process in earnest.
The agreement contains a schedule of fundraising thresholds and deadlines based upon the cost estimates associated with the Concept Plan (i.e. 25% of funds raised by end of year one following approval of the Concept Plan; 50% by end of year two, and 100% by end of year three following approval).
According to the staff memo, the City administration is recommending the building for the northeast corner of the property because “[T]he placement of the Center at this location would be the most efficient option and would minimize the loss of parking spaces at the P72 Lot, as a portion of the site is currently used for storage of Ocean Rescue equipment that could be moved elsewhere. In addition, the placement of the Center at the northeast corner would not impact the Army Corps of Engineers’ occasional use of the P72 Lot to conduct beach renourishment efforts that are required from time to time.”
This option would also result in the least amount of parking spaces lost, with 30 parking spaces (15 public and 15 in the fire station lot) being impacted. 
The memo also states, “The Planning Department has completed a massing study for a future new fire station within the northern portion of the property. The study includes options for a 2 and 3 story fire station and concludes that the construction of the Adaptive Recreation Center on the identified NE corner will not hinder the future development of the new fire station.”

The proposed overall height is 24 feet above Base Flood Elevation plus maximum Freeboard (BFE + 5) to meet the City's maximum resuliency criteria for sea level rise and, according to the staff memo, "is well under the Code limit of 200 feet." 
City Commission Meeting
Monday, July 2, 9:30 am
City Hall, Commission Chambers
Sabrina Cohen Adaptive Recreation Center, Agenda item R7D

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